The Yankees’ winning formula has been to score early and often, and thrash their opponents with lots of homers. The Twins took a page out of the Yankees playbook on Friday night, however, jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning and hitting four home runs in their 10-1 victory.
The nine-run blowout was the Yankees worst loss to the Twins since July 31, 1991 (12-3) and their worst defeat in Minnesota since April 5, 1989 (12-2). It was also the most home runs the Twins have hit against the Yankees in more than 20 years. On August 6, 1994, Kirby Puckett, Kent Hrbek, Pedro Munoz and Shane Mack each hit homers in the Twins 10-4 victory that day.
The Yankees made a lot of loud outs and got 10 hits in the game, but managed just a single run on a sac fly in the ninth inning. It was the first time they scored one or fewer runs despite having double-digit hits since July 10, 2010 vs. the Mariners. In that span, every other major-league team had done that at least once (and the Pirates have done it eight times!).
As magical as this season has been for the Yankees, there’s still been a couple holes in their resume, including a poor record away from the Bronx and a lack of big comebacks. Entering Saturday, the Yankees were 23-25 on the road and the largest deficit they’d overcome in a game was three runs.
They temporarily patched up both of those holes on Saturday night, scoring eight unanswered runs after trailing 5-0 in the third inning to beat the Twins at Target Field.
A-Rod wrote another chapter in his storybook season, hitting three homers, each one bringing the Yankees closer to an improbable victory, and capped off with his dramatic game-tying shot in the top of the ninth inning. Before this outburst, he had never even hit a single homer at Target Field; his 30 at-bats at the ballpark before his solo longball in the fourth inning were his most at any venue he hadn’t gone deep yet in his career.
At the age of 39 years and 363 days, not only did A-Rod become the oldest Yankee ever to hit three homers in a game, he also is the fifth-oldest in major-league history to do it. The only guys older than him were Stan Musial (41 years old), Jason Giambi (40), Reggie Jackson, (40) and Babe Ruth (40).
It was his fifth career three-home run game, one shy of the MLB record held by Johnny Mize and Sammy Sosa, and his third such game with the Yankees. The only other players in franchise history to hit at least three homers in a regular season game three-or-more times are Lou Gehrig (4) and Joe DiMaggio (3).
His third homer knotted the game at 5-5, his sixth game-tying homer in the ninth inning with the franchise. A-Rod and Yogi Berra are the only Yankees in the last 75 years to hit that many game-tying homers in the ninth frame.
Breaking news: the Yankees won a road series! They beat the Twins 7-2 on Sunday to win their first series on the road since sweeping the Mariners in Seattle on June 1-3. If the Yankees were going to break out of their road slump, the most likely choice would have been here at Target Field. They are now 16-5 at the ballpark (which opened in 2010), the best record there by any American League team.
No Yankee starter is pitching better and more consistently than Nathan Eovaldi right now, who turned in his seventh strong outing in a row since getting shelled by the Marlins in mid-June. He’s got a 2.83 ERA in his last seven starts, easily the best among his rotation ‘mates in that span (since June 20). And he is now up to 11 starts this season allowing two runs or fewer, the most among Yankee pitchers.
Chase Headley drove in three of the Yankees’ seven runs with a solo homer in the fifth and a two-run single in the sixth. Before Headley, the last Yankee third baseman with at least three RBIs against the Twins in Minnesota was Robin Ventura on April 18, 2003. Since sitting out three games in the beginning of July with a calf injury, Headley is hitting .359 with 10 RBI in his last 11 games.